New victim service for Lancashire7 April, 2015
Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner has taken over responsibility for providing services to support victims of crime and established a victims’ hub based in the centre of Preston.
The move follows changes introduced by Government that mean Police and Crime Commissioners become responsible for providing services locally – giving much more say to local people on the kind of support they need.
As a result the Commissioner has contracted charity Victim Support to provide services to Lancashire residents and asked the charity to provide the service locally.
In addition the Commissioner has promised Victim Support’s services will be available to everyone, regardless of the type of crime or anti-social behaviour they have been a victim of, and, crucially, regardless of whether or not they have reported the crime to the police.
Mr Grunshaw said: “My commitment to people who have been a victim of crime however small, is simple – their needs are the most important thing, and they need to have a voice. Victim Services will be there when people need them and it is for the individuals themselves to decide what help and support works for them, and to feel they have access to the information they need – whether that’s about their case, going to court or about the help that’s available to them.
“I am confident Victim Support will offer an excellent service on my behalf, and crucially I have asked them to move their staff to Preston – rather than their current Manchester location – to ensure they are solely focussed on Lancashire’s residents and their needs.
“This funding coming directly to Lancashire is a brilliant opportunity to improve what is offered to our victims, and I am committed to making sure that happens.”
Victim Support will make contact with victims referred to them through the police, and victims will also be able to call the service directly if they need support at a later date, or to cope and recover from the impact of a crime or anti-social behaviour incident even if they did not report it to the police.
The organisation will offer support to individuals directly, or – in the cases of certain victims – will refer them to other locally-commissioned specialist services. These services will be announced by the Commissioner in the coming weeks, but will include specialist provision for young victims, victims of hate crime and victims of rape, sexual assault and Child Sexual Exploitation.
The Commissioner added: “My research with victims showed there are certain victims who may need very specialist support to help them cope and recover, so my role now is to ensure those services exist, and are easily accessible.
“Victim Support will act as the main hub, and they will be able to refer any victims they identify as needing a different kind of support to the relevant agency. A common complaint victims have is that there are too many people involved in their journey to recovery – I hope by having a seamless, Lancashire-based process, victims will get the help they need at the first opportunity.”
More information on the services available in Lancashire can be found on the Commissioner’s website – www.Lancashire-pcc.gov.uk.
The helpline for victims to contact Victim Support is 0300 323 0085.